It’s obvious. There is no escape now. The plane is crashing and nothing you do seems to work. No prayers can save you or the passengers seated in the plane from almost certain death.

The plane drops, its nose dipped, while the rumbling of its engine recedes as it loses altitude rapidly. You tug the controller in desperation, but nothing happens. You realise all your efforts are in vain and you close your eyes as the plane crashes against the mountainous Alps and the screen goes black.

You remove the headset, your forehead beaded with sweat. The flight simulator was in beta after all, there were bound to be glitches. As you take a deep breathe, you recollect how physically real it all felt. Slowly, you let go of all prejudices that you had as you realise that virtual reality is new, yes. But certainly not a gimmick. It’s surreal, yet life-like, and succeeds more than anything in making the gamer feel the game he plays. If tapped effectively, it could very well be the future of gaming.

What is virtual reality?

For everyone living in ignorance for the past few years, virtual reality refers to a (stereoscopic) 3D computer-simulated environment that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds. It recreates sensory experiences including virtual taste, sight, smell, sound and touch.

While virtual reality has been used from the 1960s in several fields such as aviation and army training, it’s use in regular households has only just begun to get popular via its implementation in gaming.

Virtual reality has always been an issue of interest in the gaming community. With the introduction of the Oculus Rift in 2012, gaming in virtual reality has become commonplace. Three years later, not only has the Oculus Rift become better, but its inception has led to the creation of several other virtual reality headsets, namely Google Cardboard, HTC/Valve Revive and Sony Project Morpheus, just to name a few.

Why is it so exciting for gamers?

Rarely does something happen in the gaming industry that has the potential of completely changing the way games are played. Imagine playing the game, not as an arbitrary character you have just been introduced to, but as yourself. You put on the headset and now all you see is the in-game world. You turn your head to explore your environment and use your hands and legs as you normally would, to move about.

Imagine being able to travel to places unheard, explore galaxies unseen and visit fictional places you always yearned to. Yes, you don’t just play the game…you live it. Exhilarating, isn’t it?

What are its limitations?

Virtual reality need not always be all good and no bad. Firstly, creating a game that works fluidly in VR is quite a tricky ordeal. This can be seen in the numerous bugs that persist in almost every modern VR game.

Secondly, VR headsets that require you to move about the room in order to replicate movement inside the game can be used only in spacious environments.

Additionally, such headsets require the simultaneous use of several sensors that only add on to the cost and make VR an expensive experience.

Not to forget, constant playing games in stereoscopic 3D could lead to straining of the eye and very frequent headaches.

But most importantly, the incompatibility of several games in VR prevents a permanent shift of gaming into VR.

However, none of these issues are grand enough to prevent the growth of VR gaming.

With developing hardware and software, VR is becoming more and more of a reality. Don’t be surprised if VR headsets start popping up in every home that houses a gamer.

However, the same had been said for 3D gaming five years ago, and that did not take much time to lose its charm. So, will VR go down the same road or will it be able to retain its mark in the gaming industry forever? That, only time will tell. Meanwhile, I would conclude by saying that VR is definitely worth giving a shot.

Stop spectating the game, start living it.

Pranav is a 17 year old whose passion is writing reviews and articles on technology and gaming. His gaming tag is Fleet Admiral. You can check out his tech vlog at: avnairtech or contact him at [email protected]

SOURCE: Muscat Daily